Monster Hunter has finally broken the west, but he wants to go even further •

When the original Monster Hunter Stories launched in 2016, Capcom’s series wasn’t exactly unloved, but it was still a relatively niche concern in the West – loved by a dedicated core, but had no not yet captured the imagination of the general public.

How much can change in five years. Its sequel sets out on a world that truly fell in love with Monster Hunter – in no small part thanks to the resounding success of Monster Hunter World, which opened the series to a whole new audience, which was followed brilliantly by the exquisite Monster. This year’s Hunter Rise. .

Monster Hunter Stories 2 takes the turn-based model of the original, and is once again managed by Capcom’s in-house team with help from Marvelous – but this time it’s coming to both Switch and PC ( where you can expect support for 144 fps, among other bells and whistles) and the day and date of its release in Japan.

Ahead of a demo release later this week, we sat down with series producer Ryozo Tsujimoto, Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin director Kenji Oguro, and art director Takahiro Kawano to discuss what went wrong. changed this time around and the rest of the series.

Before I got to Monster Hunter Stories 2, I wanted to go back a bit and talk about the genesis of the first game. What was the intention behind creating a turn-based Monster Hunter?

Ryozo Tsujimoto: The genesis of the Stories series dates back about 13 years, in fact – so about eight years before the original game even came out. We had some ideas in mind a few years after the start of the Monster Hunter series – what it would be like to take this hunting action gameplay and translate it into a Japanese turn-based RPG-style system. It was just something bouncing around in our heads – the mainstay of the Kaname series Fujioka and I were talking and thought it would be fun, but nothing really concrete came of it until a few years later, when we had the chance to get a concept together and talk to director Mr. Oguro. It was a question of thinking about how to translate this gameplay of turn-based action, but also to differentiate visually from the main series. That was five years ago now, and that’s how the show started.

I played around a bit and it looks fantastic. As far as that visual vibe goes, it’s changed a bit – what were you trying to achieve this time around?

Kenji Oguro: With the original, we wanted to achieve a bit more appeal than the main series was at the time. But looking at the feedback we’ve received after the Monster Hunter Stories first came out, we’ve probably skewed a little too much in a more childish direction. And some players felt it wasn’t as grown-up as they would like to be seen playing. It’s kind of the same idea where we want to take one’s feedback and based on that, we want Monster Hunter Stories 2 to be more engaging than the first game was. And in order to do that – we’ll probably hear from the art director in a second – but we had to take a different approach to the graphics and make it a little more grown-up.

I only spent a few hours with Stories 2 – although I found it a bit slow, as a main series registered enthusiast, I’m not sure I was its target audience.

Takahiro Kawano: To achieve this goal of broadening the appeal, based on feedback from the first game, I wanted to change the proportions of the character designs. So you can see that they look a little less chibi or what they call distorted in Japan. And they look a little bigger. I think there are more details that make the game feel a little different and richer – not just in the characters, but in the gear they wear, even in the stages they inhabit.

I think the stages of the first game were again, pretty cute and abstract designs. And that doesn’t mean the game has gotten hyper realistic now – but I looked at how to add elements of realism like lighting effects and water effects that would maintain the aesthetic of the anime while rooting it a little more.

What were the other main comments you wanted to cover from the first game to the sequel?

Kenji Oguro: The two most important points would be the combat system and the monster breeding system. So for battles, as you probably know, there is a rock paper scissors approach to the types of monsters – this is a way to replicate the feeling of a monster hunter game in which you read the behavior of the monster in search of its clues, then learn to strategize with your own attacks.

In the first game, the system was a bit haphazard, so even if you were fighting a monster of one type and felt like you had read it and knew how to deal with that type, sometimes it would randomly launch an attack. of a different type. It was meant to keep you a bit on your toes, but eventually we realized people found it frustrating. So we made it fairer and more consistent.

The other item that is an improvement is the breeding of monsters. In Monster Hunter Stories, it was in-game, but it was kind of post-game content – you couldn’t really access it during main story progression. I thought it was a bit of a shame to keep it there, because this idea of ​​raising monsters was so much fun I wanted to make sure people could enjoy it. So that was taken out of the post-game and incorporated into the script itself.

Like you said with the early Monster Hunter stories, you wanted to embrace this idea of ​​turn-based battle – I think the mix works wonderfully and you did a really good job of getting the two to come together. mix. Have you ever wondered if you can match Monster Hunter with other genres?

Kenji Oguro: I really want to make sure you don’t understand this as some kind of ad! I think you have to make sure that when you bring a series of games like this into a new genre, you can’t just be like Monster Hunter but x – you have to have some idea based on the world of this game. ‘a way that really makes sense and matches how the game feels.

It seems very obvious in retrospect, but for me personally, maybe it’s a craft-focused game. The game already contains elements of collecting monster parts by killing enemies and using them to craft equipment, which then leads to this fighting game loop, again focused on creating collection materials in the game. world to create hunter armor hunter weapons, then maybe even go on to create your own village. This kind of styling, off the top of my head, might be a good step for Monster Hunter, but it’s important when making this kind of idea that you don’t just put the two together. You need to make sure it is a natural fit.

There are a handful of crossovers due with Rise, including some new outfits.

It’s much better than my idea, which was just Monster Hunter Kart. A question for Mr. Tsujimoto – at the moment you can’t really move for Monster Hunter, with Rise Still Good, Stories 2 set to release and the film recently released in theaters in the UK. A while back you were asked all the time when Monster Hunter will break the west – looks like you might have done it now! So what are the series’ ambitions next?

Ryozo Tsujimoto: We have certainly come a long way. As you said, I started interviews about ten years ago with the inevitable question of when we were finally going to be successful in the West. It’s really great that we got to the point of releasing titles simultaneously, whereas before it was a pretty long interval, which impacted reception in the West. We have created this very large global community of Monster Hunter fans, many of whom have come through the most recent games.

I don’t want to rest on my laurels here – there are always more people you can reach, especially when it comes to an action game, which is quite complicated, like Monster Hunter. There will always be more players who may feel put off by the complexity of the very rewarding complexity of the action. This is where titles like Monster Hunter Stories come in – they might be intrigued by the gaming world, but they need a different entry point. They could start with Monster Hunter Stories, or even as you mentioned the live-action movie. Going forward, I never want to give the impression that we are done or have reached our goal. There will always be more games to create and hopefully more ways to amaze and surprise players and the future.

Helen L. Cuellar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.